What Does it Mean to You if the Government Shuts Down?

The federal government could shut down on Friday if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on spending. This would be the first time in history that a shutdown took place when one party – in this case, the internally divided Republicans – controls both houses of Congress as well as the presidency.

What Keeps Running: The military will still be working. But paychecks for the troops – even those in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan – could be delayed. Social Security and Medicare checks, air traffic control,  and U.S. mail deliveries will also continue.

But Millions of Americans Will Suffer: When the government shut down for 16 days in 2013:

  • Veterans with disabilities had to wait two weeks for their benefits.
  • Taxpayers didn’t get $4 billion in refunds for two weeks.
  • National parks and monuments closed.
  • Cancer patients couldn’t get clinical trials at the National Institutes for Health.
  • The Environmental Protection Administration stopped inspecting 1,200 sites, including drinking water systems, hazardous waste facilities and chemical plants.
  • The Food and Drug Administration postponed almost 500 food inspections.

Economy Would Take a Hit: S&P Global analysts predict a shutdown will cost the economy about $6.5 billion a week because furloughed federal workers (850,000 in 2013) won’t have paychecks to spend. S&P expects that, as in 2013, the economic slowdown will cost more than 100,000 private sector jobs that would have been created.